IT WAS Jimmy Cliff who sang that he could ‘see clearly now the rain is gone’, but I’m afraid yesterday’s deluge at Epsom has only muddled the Cazoo Derby (4.30pm) picture for me.
With the sun blazing and temperatures soaring at the beginning of the week, we were all set for a fast ground Derby until yesterday’s forecast of a light shower turned into a full day of persistent rain.
With several updated going changes throughout the afternoon, conditions were closing in on soft and what the ground will be at 4.30pm on Saturday is guesswork.
The forecast suggests that the warmer sunnier weather will return meaning that the track is bound to be hard work.
Aidan O’Brien has whittled his eight-strong Cazoo Derby squad down to just Bolshoi Ballet who flies the solo flag for the all-conquering Ballydoyle team.
He was hugely impressive in the Derrinstown Derby Trial last time and having won the Ballysax on his previous start, is following in his father Galileo’s hoofprints.
The rain is a slight negative as he has appeared to relish a sound surface this season, but his class may just carry him through.
The one horse all the rain will suit is Mac Swiney who won last month’s Irish Guineas on bad ground and is at his best when the mud flies.
He does have his stamina to prove, but if conditions don’t dry out he looks a likely player.
Mohaafeth looked a future star when bolting up in his prep at Newmarket but his trainer has said all along that he is a fast ground horse.
That looks the same for John Leeper who being a son of Frankel out of Snow Fairy wouldn’t want it too tacky.
The ground was soft at Lingfield when Third Realm bolted up in his trial and I can see both he and runner-up Adayar out-running their odds.
Another who could go well is Joseph O’Brien’s SOUTHERN LIGHTS at around 22/1.
He’s not proven on the ground but was checked in his run on two crucial occasions in the Derrinstown and might have finished a close second granted a clear run.
If he handles conditions I can see him running well and he looks the speculative each-way call in the race.
With millions being bet into the World Pool from across the globe, it may just pay to perm up some of the bigger priced horses with the favourite in an attempt to land the Quinella (Reverse Exacta) with Tote.co.uk.
I’d suggest combining the favourite with Southern Lights, Third Realm and Adayar in the hope of a bumper return.
Southern Lights e/w 4.30pm Epsom
Combination Quinella (Bolshoi Ballet, Southern Lights, Third Realm, Adayar)